2009-03-19 / News

Zoning ordinance changes take shape

By Lisa Bryer

The Planning Commission and Planning Department have culminated an 11-month process, which included a review and proposed amendment of the Zoning Ordinance. Many of the proposed changes implement the recommendations of Donald Powers Architects gained through the public Charrette process in October 2007.

The Planning Commission appreciates the public commitment and input received over the last year on this amendment. The proposed Zoning Ordinance amendment has now been sent to the town attorney for review. Once legal review is completed, the Planning Commission may have to make additional amendments. Once we have satisfied our legal team, the proposed changes are transmitted to the Town Council with a statement of consistency with Jamestown's Comprehensive Plan and the Rhode Island Zoning Enabling Legislation. The Town Council will then publicly advertise the proposed amendments and hold public hearings. The Town Council adopts all Zoning Ordinance amendments.

General changes include:

Although the zoning district boundaries are not proposed for change, creation of a Special Development District for the Village Commercial Districts of CD and CL and the Village Residential Districts of R-20 and R-8 is proposed for the purpose of implementing affordable housing initiatives as approved in the 2005 Jamestown Affordable Housing Plan as well as moving to a more "form"-based zoning instead of a use and dimensional based zoning.

The Special Development District regulations will replace the Development Plan Review Section of the ordinance and will provide for more "in-house" Technical Review Committee (TRC) review of development proposals in the commercial districts due to the depth of standards provided in the ordinance.

Regulation of temporary/portable residential storage containers.

Development of affordable housing regulations permitting accessory apartments and slightly undersized lots in the Special Development District.

Parking regulation amendments including requiring off street parking for all residential use, reduced parking requirements for retail, office, restaurant, theatre and commercial indoor recreation for lots in the CD district with greater than 50 percent building lot coverage as of the adoption of this ordinance.

Amendment of Article 17, Low and Moderate Income Housing, to include affordable housing incentives, and inclusionary zoning, requiring 20 percent of the units in developments of 4 or more units to be "affordable".

The second draft of the Zoning Ordinance amendments is now available to the public. We are encouraging green (environmentally conscience) review of the document on-line and paper color copies are available for review at the library or in the Planning Office. Black and white copies may be picked up at the Planning Office (please call first to be sure we have available copies) at Town Hall.

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